New schools programme to beat obesity

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A controversial South Holland councillor has spoken out in support of a new initiative to encourage healthier families – but warns any project will be difficult while the modern obsession with health and safety continues.

The Superkids programme is appealing for schools in the Spalding area to sign up for fun-filled sessions for families with children aged four to seven.

Statistics show the UK has the second-highest obesity problem in the world, with a quarter of all adults classed as obese, costing the NHS about £5bn a year. It is estimated that the majority of the population will be classified as obese by 2050.

Figures released in September last year revealed almost 24 per cent of children in reception classes in Lincolnshire were overweight or obese, which was above both the East Midlands average of 22.1 per cent and national average 22.6 per cent.

Steve Winter, weight management advisor at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: “The Superkids programme gives the opportunity for the whole family to get involved in adopting healthy lifestyle changes.

“We hope that by providing education on choices such as portion sizes, healthy shopping, packed lunch boxes and being active we can help to address weight issues from a young age.”

Lifestyles have been blamed for the obesity problem. Figures from the European Toddler Nutrition Index show 31 per cent of British children have chicken nuggets at least once a week.

Following a presentation to Lincolnshire county councillors on the issue, Sutton Bridge member Chris Brewis said: “I think incidents of parents taking their children into fast food outlets should be treated as a form of child abuse.

“We, as a council, need to tell these parents they are killing their children.”

In supporting the Superkids programme, he said: “Naturally anything that encourages a healthier lifestyle is a good thing.

“But I fear nothing will change while the country continues its obsession with health and safety.

“We live in the country and there are plenty of places to run around, but parents have to worry about letting them out.

“It is no wonder there is an obesity problem and children are not streetwise when they reach secondary school.”

Primary schools or parents who would like to get involved in the Superkids programme can do so by calling 01775 652146.